21 Sep 1974 – Series Three (1)

19740502_Freewheelers
Folk act Freewheelers. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

The third series of New Faces began just two and a half months after the end of series two and only a few weeks after the documentary After All I’ve Been Through had been on the small screen.

With many more episodes in the new series there was a new format to the show. Every eight weeks there would be an All Winners Show and those acts that the viewers wanted to see again would be given a second chance in a number of Viewers Winners shows which would have a guest host chosen from former contestants.

The series Grand Final was to be broadcast from the London Palladium and the overall winner was guaranteed a booking for a season in Las Vegas.

At the end of the series there was a touring stage show made up of some of the best acts from this series. Acts would also be able to pick up recording contracts, cabaret bookings on cruise liners, holiday camps and night clubs as well as pantomime roles.

On the first all-male panel of the new series, following the shows ban on women judges, were the familiar faces of Tony Hatch, Mickie Most, Arthur Askey and Clifford Davis and the show was again hosted by Derek Hobson.

Based on viewers votes using the coupon in the TV Times the acts returning from their previous appearances in series two were;

  • Les Dennis (impressionist) from Liverpool – S01 E10 & S02 E01
  • Freewheelers (five-piece folk group) from Warrington – S02 E05
  • Glen and Lisa Fraser (Scottish piper and dancer) from Peterlee, Durham – S02 E10
  • Glentones (18-piece school band) from Glasgow – S02 E11
  • The Hart Family (four-piece group) from Durham – S02 E12
  • D. J. Pope (male vocalist) from London – S02 E09
Impressionist Les Dennis certainly impressed the judges, only dropping one point for his Presentation mark.
Image: Original ATV Broadcast

The winner of the show was Les Dennis, who delivered a routine consisting of impressions of Colombo, panel judge Clifford Davis, the Top Cat gang and the Flintstones. He also performed impressions of Hughie Green, Patrick Moore and Frank Spencer and all the panel agreed he was very talented and destined to be a star.

Les was appearing in a record third consecutive series, who scored 111 points out of a possible 120, with Tony Hatch the only judge giving him less than maximum marks in the Presentation category by awarding him 9 out of 10 for his final mark, much to Arthur Askey’s dismay prompting him to sing ‘Tony is a spoilsport’ as Derek Hobson confirmed the score of 39 for Presentation.. The breakdown of Les’ scores from the judges was;

CategoryMickie MostClifford DavisArthur AskeyTony HatchTotal
Presentation101010939
Content999936
Star Quality8910936
Total27282927111
How Les Dennis scored with the judges for each category giving him a total of 111 points.

This score of 111, confirmed from the ATV archive footage, finally dispels the circulating ‘urban’ legend that Les scored one short of the maximum 120 points on this show, a ‘fact’ that was even referenced in Lenny Henry’s 2019 book Who Am I, again?

Glasgow school band the Glentones played the old big band tune Woodchopper’s Ball. The groups music teacher, Louis Morel, played piano for their performance but he was located off screen. The microphones used for their performance were plentiful as the sound guys at ATV did a good job of balancing the microphones on the mixing desk before they did a live ‘take’ for the cameras. With just one saxophone player and eight clarinets the Glentones just couldn’t match that famous Glenn Miller sound and Tony Hatch picked up on this in his comments suggesting they needed more saxophones and fewer clarinets to achieve a more solid sound. The panel however gave complimentary comments overall with Mickey Most commenting that the solos were ‘very, very good.’

At the end of the judges comments Derek Hobson appealed to the South Lanarkshire school authorities by mentioning that the band would like ‘more saxophones please,’ which was probably made on behalf of the band’s teacher, however, it’s not clear that the school authorities actually listened to the plea.

The Hart Family were a family group with two members on acoustic guitar a bass player and a young girl on the lead vocals, backed by the studio orchestra they performed Mockingbird Hill, a song choice that was not a winner with the judges.

Glenn and Lisa Fraser were a young brother and sister with Glenn playing a medley of songs on the bagpipes while Lisa performed some Scottish dancing, which was backed by the studio orchestra and charmed the panel resulting a good final score.

Male singer D.J. Pope sang I’ve Got A Name a cover of a Jim Croce song. Only Arthur Askey out of the four man panel liked the song with the others thinking the song was not such a good choice.

Five-piece group The Freewheelers played acoustic guitar, electric guitar, accordion, banjo and bass and performed Midnight Flyer, a song first recorded by the Osbourne Brothers in 1972 and covered by The Eagles in 1974 on their On The Border LP.

Mickey Most thought they would be a very good live group, saying they would be ‘probably very, very entertaining if you went to see them,’ but didn’t rate their chances as recording artists as ‘this type of music has been dead for ten years,’ and Clifford Davis agreed. Arthur Askey liked them and their country and western song and Tony Hatch thought they were a good country group and before the two divided halves of the panel could disagree, host Derek Hobson moved them onto the scoring of the act.

Pos.ActPresentationContentStar QualityScore
1Les Dennis393636111
2Glen and Lisa Fraser32322993
3Glentones30342690
4D. J. Pope26262577
5The Hart Family26212572
6The Freewheelers25212063
The final scoreboard of the show following the judges marks

Credit: Special thanks to Mark Gleeson (Glentones) for detailed information on this show, which was obtained from the BFI held copy of the original ATV broadcast recording.

2 thoughts on “21 Sep 1974 – Series Three (1)

  1. […] Due to the logistics of setting up an eighteen-piece band, the Glentones had their performance recorded in the afternoon before the main show was recorded.  On the evening of the ‘live’ recording the band simply stood facing the audience and panel as if they had played moments earlier and thanks to the magic of television the TV viewers were none the wiser.  The TV viewers were clearly impressed with the band as they voted for them to return to the viewer choice show which was the first show of series three. […]

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